Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is ensuring the safety of minke whales in Montreal

Five days after the first minke whale arrived in Montreal, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) finally deployed officers Friday to fend off boats approaching the whales. The missing cetaceans have come close to exposure several times since their arrival, and warm weather is likely to increase marine traffic in St. Lawrence this weekend.

Although the DFO had known since Monday that whales were in the area, no officer had been at the site before. So many boats, including personal ones, have been able to pass at full speed near the two monsters in recent days. Thursday and Friday, duty He noted that the second minke whale to reach Montreal was almost hit several times by boats that were sailing in the Le Moines Channel, between the islands of Saint Helen and Notre Dame.

However, in accordance with Federal Marine Mammal Regulations, boaters are not allowed to come within 100 meters of the whale, the DFO said Friday in an email to He should. The law prohibits “disturbing” marine mammals, which means that the boat must not sail toward an animal or block its path; It is also forbidden to feed him, swim or interact with him.

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On Friday, the DFO team was on the water to enforce these regulations. Fisheries officials will ensure that the 100-metre distance is respected. The presence of nearby boats may cause stress or injury to the animal and may be a safety hazard for the observers themselves.

“A team of fisheries officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be conducting patrols this weekend to ensure that boats do not come close to minke whales,” the federal department responsible for cetacean protection added.

duty He was able to see on Friday evening that two minke whales are still found in Montreal.

The first, cetaceans about 3.5 meters high, first observed last Sunday, were still swimming along the beach of Ile Saint Helens, in an area not located near the statue. Three discsby Alexander Calder. The second, who arrived on Wednesday, was facing the current in the Le Moines Canal. So he finds himself precisely in the place where he was the first Sunday and Monday.

So the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Network published a press release at the end of the day Friday urging boaters to be “vigilant,” to avoid hitting whales or increasing stress on these animals already in dire straits.

If the two fallen whales decided to return to the course of the St. Lawrence River, they would find themselves directly in the sea lane and colliding with the merchant ships sailing down the river.

In the port of Montreal, he states that “the stakeholders involved in the management of merchant marine traffic all take into account the presence of the whale so as not to harm it.” Can marine traffic be temporarily stopped to avoid collision? It is said that “the authorities have not issued a decree to stop the movement of ships at the present time.”

On the part of Transport Canada, it states that “a warning has been sent to navigators to warn them of the presence of the whale and ask them to exercise caution.”

Do not enter, at the moment

At the moment, there is no planned action to capture or intimidate two minke whales, including those that have been near Montreal for at least five days. There is no information to explain their presence more than 450 kilometers from their natural habitat, the estuary and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

However, it must be remembered that calves of this species separate from their mothers after a few months of breastfeeding. So it sometimes happens that events go astray. In 2016, and then in 2017, cases of small minke whales found dead in the Levis area were documented.

There has never been, in the entire history of Montreal, a documented case where two whales were in the area at the same time. In the past, beluga whales were seen near the capital, as well as the famous humpback whale that ventured there for more than a week in 2020. The latter has attracted many curious people with its many amazing jumps out of the water; She was eventually found dead on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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